As the summer warmth recedes and the crisp air of autumn sweeps across Colorado's breathtaking landscapes, another phenomenon makes its presence felt – the invasion of stink bugs. As the temperature drops, these shield-shaped insects seek refuge indoors, often infiltrating homes in considerable numbers. We will explain why stink bugs become a bigger problem in the fall and provide you with the tools to safeguard your home.
Colorado Stink Bugs
With the start of fall, stink bugs embark on a quest for shelter to endure the impending cold weather. While stink bugs do not directly harm humans, their distinctive defense mechanism – a foul odor released when disturbed or crushed – renders them unwelcome guests in any home. Stink bugs are easily recognizable by their shield-like shape and their coloring, including green, red and brown.
Egg Stage: Stink bugs typically lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves, where they are well-protected. The eggs are often barrel-shaped and may be laid in clusters. Depending on the species and environmental conditions, the eggs hatch within a week or two.
Nymph Stage: After hatching, stink bugs enter the nymph stage. Nymphs resemble miniature versions of adult stink bugs but lack wings. They undergo a series of molts, shedding their exoskeletons as they grow. Each molt brings them closer to adulthood.
Adult Stage: As nymphs mature, they enter the adult stage. Adult stink bugs develop wings and reach their full size. This is the stage where their distinct coloration and markings become more apparent.
Stink bugs are primarily herbivores, feeding on a variety of plants and crops. They use their piercing-sucking mouthparts to extract fluids from plant tissues, often causing damage to fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants. This feeding behavior can destroy late summer and fall harvests.
As fall approaches and temperatures begin to drop, stink bugs exhibit migratory behavior. They seek warmth and shelter to escape the cold, often infiltrating homes and buildings. This behavior can result in large numbers of stink bugs congregating on walls, windows, and other surfaces. When threatened or disturbed, stink bugs release a foul-smelling odor as a defense mechanism, deterring potential predators.
During the fall, stink bugs are known for their inclination to find gaps and openings in buildings to overwinter. They seek refuge in attics, crawl spaces, and other protected areas where they can survive the cold temperatures.
Prevention and Control:
Sealing Entry Points: Stink bugs have a knack for finding the tiniest openings. Thoroughly inspect doors, windows, and any crevices in the foundation for potential entry points. Properly seal these openings to deny stink bugs access to your living space.
Installing Screens: An effective physical barrier against stink bugs can be achieved through screens. Covering windows, vents, and chimney openings prevents these pests from infiltrating your home.
Outdoor Lighting: Stink bugs are drawn to light sources. Swap out traditional outdoor lights for yellow or sodium vapor lights, which are less attractive to these pests.
Vacuuming: If stink bugs make their way indoors, gently collect and dispose of them using a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment. Ensure you empty the vacuum outside afterward.
Natural Repellents: Incorporating natural repellents such as neem oil or garlic spray can discourage stink bugs from gathering around your property. These substances often interfere with their sensory perceptions.
Professional Assistance: When stink bug populations become overwhelming, seeking help from a professional pest control service, like Falkin Pest Control in Denver, can be an effective course of action. They possess the expertise to manage and reduce stink bug infestations efficiently.
In the ongoing battle against Colorado's seasonal stink bug invasion, knowledge and proactive measures are your best allies. By understanding their behavior, identifying their presence, and implementing preventive and control measures, you can make your home an inhospitable environment for these pesky invaders.